Adventures in Traveling While Breastfeeding Sans Baby

By: Kelli Cappelier June 2018 As a professional working in global health, breastfeeding has always been of interest to me from a public health and personal perspective. I knew successfully meeting ones breastfeeding “goals” while balancing a “work/life” balance would be a strategic dance. What I did not anticipate was just how much thought and strategy it takes. I have always told myself that as long as my little guy is interested, I have a goal of breastfeeding for two years. Working in global health, I now travel (mostly long distances) about 30% of my time. My little guy is approaching 16 months and so far so good. Traveling while pumping I could never bring myself to pump and dump, and given we are in the second year of breastfeeding, supply is harder and harder to protect. When I embarked on my first trip when my son was 10mo old, I went to Ghana for a four-day trip that consisted of me being in country for less than 48hrs. As I tried to strategize how best to pump and travel with breastmilk, I had difficulty finding resources applicable for my line of work. I found resources either specific to traveling domestically in the US, or to countries where one can access dry ice. My work travel is 90% in sub-Saharan Africa, the rest in Europe and the US. My trips to Africa usually take ~24hrs, sanitation is strategic, and pumping is not always culturally supported or understood. So through trial and error, successes and failures, and sometimes pleasant surprises, I have managed to come up with a system that...

Flying with a Baby 101

Traveling with a baby is a boogeyman. When you tell people you are planning on flying with a baby you are likely to hear “you’re so brave” and “that sounds impossible”. There is something about being on the road, at airports and on airplanes, with no privacy and no access to baby supplies, that can feel very scary. Perhaps it’s the exposure that is so frightening. Travel requires us to do in public what we are mostly used to do in private: feed our babies, put them to sleep, get through the witching hour, be tired and sometimes overwhelmed. Flying with a baby may be a necessity for you, to see family or for work, or maybe you love traveling and want to explore the world with your little one. Don’t let the logistics of it scare you. You can do it! the worst travel experiences make the best party stories! Both my children boarded their first flights at 2.5 months and have since logged thousands of miles worldwide. From quick one-hour flights to 16 hours on board, here are my top tips for not only surviving, but enjoying flying with a baby (and a toddler!). (Packing list attached at the end!) The flying-with-a-baby-mindset Flying with a baby is all about “prepare for all scenarios, and prepare to be surprised”. In practicality, this means you should come prepared physically. Pack all things you will reasonably and less reasonably need, and don’t rely on airports or airlines to provide much. It also means you should come prepared mentally. Things go wrong all the time when traveling with kids, from delayed...